COMPELLED TO WORSHIP
Compelled to Sacrifice
If you asked me what I love most about going to church, my answer would be WORSHIP!
What I would mean by that, is that I love worshipping God with God’s people! I LOVE singing along with the Worship Band at the top of my lungs! I love raising my hands in the air and moving my body to the beat. Dare I even say, I Love Dancing if the spirit moves me! I love hearing God’s word of Truth spoken, I love hearing His Word read, I love the opportunity to give back a small portion of what God has graciously given to me. I love encouraging others, sharing with others…I LOVE IT ALL!
I once had someone say that they didn’t like to blend their going to a concert with their worship experience at church! WHAT?
I do not understand the concept of going to a concert and feeling free to jump, dance, scream and sing along, while not feeling the same freedom spiritually during worship at church? In fact, dare I say, feeling greater freedom in church as you worship the One who has set you free!
Man is the one who has built the walls in-between, not God! Man is the one who puts up barriers and creates rules and regulations, not God! If I am going to look silly, feel free, and raise my hands to anyone, let it be in church and to God!
No where on my list of what I love most about church is the word SACRIFICE! Sacrifice is not the first thing we think about when we think about God and our experience with Him. The word Sacrifice, does not promote a warm and fuzzy feeling and does not cause a smile to spread across our face.
The word SACRIFICE, can actually cause the opposite reaction.
By definition, SACRIFICE is the “surrender or destruction of something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as having higher or more pressing claim.”
By definition we are giving something up or actually getting rid of it totally by destroying it!
I believe that what God wants from us is to willingly give our lives to Him, sacrificially, and compel others to the same way of life!
In the book of Romans it says not to copy the behavior and customs of the world we live in, but to sacrifice that way of living, for God’s way of living. When we do this, God transforms our lives and we become a new person. One who lives his/her life as a “LIVING SACRIFICE,” which is good, pleasing and perfect!
The irony is that God tells us that this is “truly the way to worship Him.”
Romans 12:1 says,
“Dear Brothers and Sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy SACRIFICE – the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him.”
I am called to be a living sacrifice that compels others to know my Savior by the way I live my life. I am to live that life differently than the world around me. I am to not copy the behaviors and practices around me. I am to be transformed in the way I think by filling my mind with God’s TRUTH!
My life of sacrifice can compel others to The Savior.
When my mind, heart and spirit are filled with the Truth of God’s Word, I am transformed into living a life that copies Jesus and not the behaviors and customs of this world.
That kind of lifestyle is contagious and compels others to follow.
Speak Truth Love
WHAT COMPELLS YOU?
If we are going to live lives that are “compelling”, then the first question we must ask ourselves is; “What Compells us?”
If we stick to the definition of compelling that we are using for this series then the question must be asked and answered according to this….
“To have a powerful and irresistible effect, to influence, to draw near.”
According to this definition, what compels you?
Embarrassingly enough I am “compelled” to cupcakes at times. The decadent icing on top of the moist, delectable cake is at times irresistible to my tastebuds. More than that, the power they can have over me to falsely sooth my sorrowful disposition, compels me more times than not to eat them!
As silly as that example was, on a more serious and important note, I am also compelled to read the Word of God for I know what it has done for me before! It is also a powerful and influential tool in my life.
I do not know what your answers to this question are, but I do know that there is no shortage of compulsions in this world we live in. Eating, drinking, spending, gambling, gaming, just to name a few!
Truly, we were created with a nature to be compelled and to compel others. The question we must face is, Is our compulsion compelling ourselves toward God, or repelling ourselves away from God?
So again, I ask, “What compels you?”
In II Corinthians 5:14-15, we read what should compel us, and WHY!
“For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that One died for ALL, and therefore all died. And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again.” II Corinthians 5:14–15
I do not know about you, but at times in my life this is easy, and at times in my life this is very hard!
There are some days when my first thought is to run to my Bible, open it’s pages, soak in it’s wisdom, and pour my heart out to God in prayer.
There are other days when all I want to do is sit and eat cupcakes!
The COMPELLING part is what balances me, and keeps the two in proportion!
In order to be compelling, I must learn to be compelled toward God and His Word!
This is something I must do each and everyday!
There is no better practice I know to develop this discipline than FASTING!
Spiritual fasting is all about giving up something to focus on God! To instead of reaching for that cupcake, or cup of coffee, or diet coke, or program, or phone call with a friend, or retail therapy, or…..you fill in the blank, I reach for God. I open His word, I say a prayer to Him and I develop a compelling nature to spend time with Him alone.
While there are many scriptures on fasting and many books written on how to fast, and why you should fast, my favorite is the example set by Jesus Himself…
“After fasting forty days and forty nights, He was hungry.” Matthew 4:2
I am not telling you to fast from all food for 40 days and nights. What I am saying is that, if Jesus knew that fasting was important, then so should as well.
Tomorrow, Wednesday March 13, marks 40 days until Easter! Forty days until we celebrate the most important day on the world’s calendar. The resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior! If you would like to practice exercising your spiritual muscle, then you could join me in a 40 day Fast. We will begin tomorrow and end on Easter Sunday!
A fast can be anything at all that you choose to give up for a time, commit that time to God, pray to Him and read His word.
It is wonderful to have a book or specific scriptures that you can read each day to help you through. I am using the book by Mark Batterson, ‘Draw the Circle.’ It is 40 days of testimonials to God and scripture. It makes it perfect for a 40 day fast.
You can find another book, or read through a book of the Bible. Daniel is a great book for fasting since Daniel himself sets a great example for us in this discipline.
Remember, fasting is not a diet! It does not even have to involve food at all. It is for the sole purpose to sacrifice something in order to draw our attention to God!
Just imagine how compelling we may become as we draw closer to the One who compels us to Himself!
Speak Truth Love
Today Friends it is a new month and I am COMPELLED to write on thoughts of being COMPELLED!
I was recently at a Women’s Conference where the powerful speaker used the word, “COMPELLED,” to encourage us to have the kind of faith that compels others to follow us.
I was impacted greatly by this thought, and frankly, I was convicted! It forced me to ask myself the question, “Does my faith, AKA, my life, compel anyone to be drawn to it and follow it?”
It has been over two weeks since that conviction was spoken to me and I have wrestled with this question ever since.
I believe that we are living in a culture that threatens to be ‘Post Christian.’ We claim to believe in Jesus, yet the rate of depression and anxiety in our culture is rising at an alarming rate. Do we really TRUST Him? When others see the way we deal with sadness and anxiousness, does it cause them to follow our example or simply fall into the status quo right alongside of us? Does the look on our face differ from the looks on the faces around us? Do we have the “joy of the Lord” in us, even when our circumstances are anything but “happy?”
When the unexpected trial or tragedy hits us, do we fall to our knees and throw our hands up in the air, or do we call our posse and add to the grumbling and complaining?
Woe is me friends, because I must admit that too often I fall into the “cultural mode” of dealing with my life. Instead of compelling others to emulate my life actions and follow Jesus, I am repelling them away from Him.
As convicting as I feel to compel others to Jesus through my life’s actions, I am even more alarmed at the fact that my misguided actions can repel them!
For the purpose of this series we are going to use my favorite dictionary definition of COMPEL…
“To have a powerful and irresistible effect, to influence, to draw near.”
The flip side of this powerful definition is to REPEL…
“To push away or repulse, to drive off.”
Friends, the only way I see it is that we do one or the other. Our lives, unless lived in isolation, have the power to COMPEL or REPEL!
I know the task is daunting! It is too big for us to take on. The beauty of a life lived for God is that we don’t have to take it on ourselves. It is through the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit that people are drawn to Jesus. We just have to shine the light that directs them to Him!
How often have you sang the children’s song, ‘This Little Light of Mine?’ Has it ever convicted you to let that light shine? The simple words are truly profound!
“This Little Light of Mine, I’m going to let it shine, Let it shine, Let it shine, Let it shine.”
How do we let our little light shine? By living our lives the way God tells us to.
His Word, The Bible, is a LOVE Letter to us that is full of instruction and guidance.
The first thing we should be compelled to do in order to compel others is to PRAY!
I do not mean to just PRAY when you are desperate and need something, although that is a very good time to pray, but I mean PRAY DAILY, ALL THE TIME as a usual practice.
Look at what Jesus did,
“Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and His disciples followed Him.” Luke 22:39
The words that strike me first and foremost are, “AS USUAL!”
It was His HABIT! It was as normal or as usual for Jesus, as brushing His teeth, combing His hair, eating His breakfast or drinking His first cup of whatever warm beverage was available to Him.
This was a USUAL practice for Jesus. It was what He did DAILY and ALL OF THE TIME!
When we encounter Jesus facing the most difficult time of His life, we find Him PRAYING to His heavenly Father as USUAL!
The first practice of living a life that COMPELS and does not REPEL others, is to PRAY!
Making prayer the first response to anything, instead of a cry of desperation is a vital step to living a COMPELLING life.
Prayer should be as habitual as your morning cup of coffee!
Whether your preference is hot tea, hot water or like mine, that dark, rich caffeinated deliciousness called coffee, PRAYER needs to be as habitual and USUAL for us as taking that first sip and drinking it down!
If we are going to be True Lights for God that shine and help save this culture from becoming “post-christian,” we must live lives that COMPEL others to God!
COMPELLED TO PRAY IS STEP ONE!
Speak Truth Love